Sal’s Chilean Tilapia with Eggplant and Olives
“When cooking with tilapia, a particularly mellow fish, it’s important to include flavorful ingredients to help the dish come to life. In our Chilean Tilapia, a favorite of Patsy’s Italian Restaurant regular, Tony Danza, the anchovies, olives and capers help create a delicious flavor profile,” says Sal Scognamillo, Executive Chef of Patsy’s Italian Restaurant.
- 2 small Italian eggplants, about ½ pound, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubs
- ½ cup olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
- 16 kalamata or gaeta olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 14-ounce can plum tomatoes with juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 tilapia fillets, about 6 to 8 ounces each, 11/2 inches think
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup fish broth or water
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
- ½ tsp paprika
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Toss the cubed eggplant with ¼ cup of the olive oil, place in a baking pan in one layer, and roast for 14 to 16 minutes, turning once. Reserve. Don’t turn off the oven.
- Heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in a large nonstick skillet over low flame and sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Add the bell peppers, basil, anchovy fillets, capers, olives, parsley, and reserved eggplant. Stir to combine and sauté over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and ¾ cup water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the ingredients are thoroughly blended. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm on the lowest possible heat.
- Place the fish in one layer in a baking dish and dot with butter. Pour the fish broth and lemon juice over and around the fish, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
- To assemble, spoon two thirds of the sauce on a serving platter. Arrange the fish on top of the sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over and around the fish.